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Soup Name:  Basic Chinese Chicken Soup Stock (Soup Base)

Traditional Chinese Name: 清雞湯 (qīng jī tāng)

Introduction: This is the base Chinese Chicken Soup stock that …

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Watercress and Chestnuts in Roasted Pork Soup

Submitted by on November 19, 2012 – 7:06 am8 Comments | 22,263 views

Soup Name: Watercress and Chestnuts in Roasted Pork Soup

Traditional Chinese Name:  西洋菜栗子燒豬湯 (xīyáng cài lì zi shāo zhū tāng)

Waste not! Want not! I’ve used the remains of a roasted piglet (from a banquet) to make a delicious watercress and chestnut soup. Usually, people don’t eat the head, feet and tail of the roasted piglet, so I took home the head! It creates a very rich, delicious broth and great as a soup base for almost any ingredients. My vegetable vendor suggested watercress because of the recent change in weather and everyone was getting sore throats and was heaty. Well, actually that’s because my sister is going through confinement, so all we eat is ginger pork feet and it sets our body on fire! Combined together with the roasted piglet head are chestnuts and dried scallops to bring a tang of sweetness to the already salty soup base. There are plenty of things around the house you can find as leftover for soups!


What Ingredients are required?

1 whole roasted piglet head (or other parts, but the head is the least fatty), quartered
20 fresh chestnuts, peeled
4-5 dried scallops (conpoys)
1-2 bunches of fresh watercress

2 L of water

How do I prepare it?

  1. Boil a small pot of water (for the chestnuts). When the water boils, add in the chestnuts to boil for 5 minutes
  2. If you can, immediately peel the chestnuts (as its easiest to peel when it’s still hot)
  3. Boil your soup water
  4. When you soup water boils, add in the roasted piglet head, peeled chestnuts, and conpoys
  5. Boil on medium-high heat for 1 hour
  6. Ten minutes before serving your soup, add in the watercress (or depending on how crunchy you like it, you can adjust the timing to cook the watercress)
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • This soup is naturally flavored (slightly salty from the roasted piglet)
  • It is a great cooling soup for sore throats, heaty bodies and cold-sore ridden mouths (or acne)
  • Really,  no additives needed (salt or sugar)
  • Great for kids
  • The watercress can be eaten as cooked veggies, so scoop more with the soup (or some people like to scoop it all out and serve it as a separate dish)

Any precautions?

  • Women on menstruation or first trimester of pregnancy should avoid too cooling soups as it causes potential contractions

Similar soups:



  • Tracy says:

    Looks deeeelicious! I miss watercress – wonder if I can eat it now that it’s been over one month?

  • I love when you describe the functionality of the soups and in this case understanding that this is a cool food will help the fire of mouth cancer sores and acne and cause cramping and further discomfort for women. After I completed my Chinese acupuncture certification, I became more and more aware and use these concepts in every day living. However, my question to you is you have a link or website that you can share with me to better understand all of the warming and cooling foods and the most common ones in a list. Take care, BAM

  • LadyTong says:

    Dear Bam’s Kitchen, you make a very good suggestion and this will definitely need to be a future project though. Currently, I don’t have any visuals that show the relative coolness/warmness of ingredients relative to each other – which would be very useful in understanding what to use, when. Stay tuned! Thank you for your support! Lisa

  • dino says:

    What can i substitute the roast pork with if i can get jus the head?

  • LadyTong says:

    You can use any pork bones, shank or ribs. If you have the head, that’s good enough too. I used that once for congee and once for soup and it tasted great! Lisa

  • Sylvia Tudy says:

    Thank you for the recipes. Very useful for my family.

  • Irene says:

    Just like how my mom makes her watercress soup! Thank you.

  • LadyTong says:

    Thanks, Irene! That’s exactly the point. I’m really trying to replicate all the soups that my mom makes! It’s like keeping my own diary of soups so I can also pass down to my children! Lisa

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